Fishing in the Smoky Mountains

park-fishingGreat Smoky Mountain fishing rules and information. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has about 2,115 miles of streams within its boundaries, and protects one of the last wild trout habitats in the eastern United States. The park offers a wide variety of angling experiences from remote, headwater trout streams to large, coolwater smallmouth bass streams. Most streams remain at or near their carrying capacity of fish and offer a great opportunity to catch these species throughout the year. Fishing is permitted year-round in the park. Either a Tennessee or North Carolina license is required and valid throughout the park. No trout stamp is required. The Park does not issue or sell licenses, but you may purchase them in nearby towns or online. Special permits are required for fishing in Gatlinburg and Cherokee. To obtain a free fishing map with a complete list of all park fishing regulations, stop by an area visitor center.

Time
Fishing is allowed from a half hour before official sunrise to a half hour after official sunset.

Daily Possession Limits
Five (5) brook, rainbow or brown trout, smallmouth bass, or a combination of these, each day or in possession, regardless of whether they are fresh, stored in an ice chest, or otherwise preserved. The combined total must not exceed five fish.

Twenty (20) rock bass may be kept in addition to the above limit. A person must stop fishing immediately after obtaining the limit. 

Size Limits
Brook, rainbow, and brown trout: 7 inch minimum
Smallmouth bass: 7 inch minimum
Rockbass: no minimum

Trout or smallmouth bass caught less than the legal length shall be immediately returned to the water from which it was taken.

Lures, Bait, and Equipment
Fishing is permitted only by the use of one hand-held rod.

Only artificial flies or lures with a single hook may be used. Dropper flies may be used. Up to two flies on a leader.

Use or possession of any form of fish bait or liquid scent other than artificial flies or lures on or along any park stream while in possession of fishing tackle is prohibited. Prohibited baits include, but are not limited to, minnows (live or preserved), worms, corn, cheese, bread, salmon eggs, pork rinds, liquid scents and natural baits found along streams.

Use or possession of double, treble, or gang hooks is prohibited.

Fishing tackle and equipment, including creels and fish in possession, are subject to inspection by authorized personnel.

Please report violators to nearest ranger or to (865) 436-1294.

Page Summary: Rules and regulations for fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park